Lariat Letters: Lariat miscommunication concerning Student Government

Oct. 1, 2009

Student body president says student government is here to listen to students

There seems to be a startling miscommunication between the Lariat and student government.

I do not mean to say that the Lariat was being intentionally malicious in the staff editorial that ran in yesterday's paper, but I want to take this opportunity to clear up a few misconceptions about student government.

First and foremost, it must be understood that student government works for and exists solely because of the student body. We are funded by you, supported by you and serve you. We are not the voice of anyone other than the students. We are not beholden to the faculty, staff, alumni, administration or regents. We are the only on-campus organization with the resources to represent your voice and thoughts to the administration of your university on a consistently personal, direct level. This is our most important responsibility, and we pursue it with the utmost vigor.

In this vein, the Baylor administration, namely President Garland and Chairman Stone, offered on Friday to hold a sit-down, one-on-one meeting with them about a variety of issues affecting the student body. Those present at this meeting were your student body officers, senate committee chairs, and class presidents. We were given the opportunity to speak openly and candidly with the administration about a number of issues, from the BAA proposal to financial aid to campus safety, in a forum that allowed for relationship building. These facts were all shared with the Lariat, but they were not reflected in their recent editorial comments. In any event, our meeting with the administration on Friday was in no way a secret. It was an honest and open forum.

Student government can do its job most effectively when we are allowed to work in a constructive manner. We strive to ensure that we represent only the true facts and opinions of the student body to the administration. Your voice is what is important to us. We want to know your thoughts, your opinions, and your ideas. We can only do our jobs effectively when we have the full volume and strength of the Baylor student body behind us.

We will be starting a new program called Issue of the Week. This is your chance to tell us what is on your mind. We will be all over campus with a weekly poll looking to get the wide ranging opinions of all 14,000 students. We want to know what you think, and we are going to be in the places you frequently visit: the SUB, the SLC and the library. This, of course, is in addition to the many ways you can get in touch with us now (e-mail: Student_Government@baylor.edu, phone: 710-2368 or stop by our office on the first floor of the SUB). You will have multiple opportunities to speak your mind to the officers who are responsible for representing the entire student body to the administration.

We hope to move away from this distraction. The issues between the Baylor administration and the BAA are between them alone. We represent the concerns of the current student body. It would be more appropriate to pursue the issues of safety and financial aid for students, rather than reporting on an issue that has little to no impact on current students. We are working to serve you in better, more innovative ways, and we refuse be deterred from discussing the issues that truly impact the lives of current students.

This is your Baylor. What do you want it to be?

Jordan Hannah

Student Body President